Mongolian Painter, Bavuu Erdenebayar

During the H1N1 Flu outbreak in Mongolia, all public gathering places were closed for several weeks to prevent further spread of the flu.  In December, they began to slowly re-open museums, theaters, etc. In a fit of boredom, I walked around the city and discovered the Red Ger Gallery was open!  The gallery is located on the first floor of the Zanabaazar Museum.  I wandered in and discovered they were having an unannounced opening for the solo exhibition of the painter, Bavuu Erdenebayar. 

What an interesting exhibition and conversation I had with him.  His paintings were based on anecdotes from Mongolian culture and folklore; “folk wisdom”.  His shapes are very fluid and organic and I immediately recognized the resemblance between his work and that of Miro.  There is also a cartoon or Anime like quality to his work.  And when he showed me a small children’s activity book he published, it didn’t surprise me in the least. I’ve noticed when attending exhibitions in Mongolia, artists often don’t include an artist statement. But Bavuu did, and even though we had a great conversation about art and his art, I appreciated his thoughtful statement.

Here it is:

“All life is connected to each other – humans, animals, nature.  A new era is coming and everyone must be ready to accept this new era.  In this era, you can realize your mistakes and change yourself to be a better person. Due to aggression, struggle, conflict of the past era, our nature and the world have suffered day after day.  The Mongols understand bad things. Bad human character brings unhappiness and causes bad things. So we can live in peace and happiness if we respect our own traditions and follow customs and habits inherited from our ancestors.  The next generation should accept and follow these carefully.  Whether or not you want to follow them, there are certain rules you must follow.  There is a natural law and everyone must follow the natural law.  There are some laws created by humans but they can be changed or violated.  So the law of life is included in folk proverbs, wise words and books. Ex. – ‘It’s better to see once than to hear it one thousand times.’  Humans always forget what they hear, but not what they’ve seen. So you should see this exhibition with your own eyes.”